Astros pitcher takes issue with MVP votes from Kansas City Star writers

Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. reacted after driving in a run during the second inning of Game 7 of the World Series earlier this month.
Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. reacted after driving in a run during the second inning of Game 7 of the World Series earlier this month. The Associated Press

This wasn’t exactly on par with the Great Pedro Martinez Snub of 1999, but one Houston Astros pitcher was not happy with two members of The Kansas City Star’s sports department after the MVP awards were announced Thursday.

First, a little history.

In 1999, Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez finished second in the American League MVP voting, despite having the most first-place votes. Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez won by a slim margin (252-239), and Martinez’s chances were no doubt hurt because was left off two ballots: George King of the New York Post and Minneapolis Star Tribune writer LaVelle Neal.

Fast forward to Thursday night when Houston second baseman Jose Altuve won the AL MVP award in a landslide. Altuve had 405 points, while Aaron Judge of the Yankees was second with 279 points.

Altuve had 27 first-place votes and three second-place votes.

There can be no controversy about this result, right?

Brian McTaggart, who is the Astros beat writer for, noted that two of the second-pace votes came from the Kansas City chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Both work for The Star: Rustin Dodd, the Royals’ beat writer, and columnist Sam Mellinger. (The other second-place vote came from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star).

McTaggart tweeted: “Altuve hit ‘only’ .296 against the Royals with one HR and three RBIs this year. Two of his three second-place votes came from Kansas City writers.”

And this is where Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. enters the picture. He used a curse word to express his displeasure that Altuve wasn’t a unanimous winner.

McCullers saw McTaggart’s tweet and responded with: “Their votes get tossed from this point out. 3rd place? You shittin me”

Actually, Dodd and Mellinger both gave Altuve a second-place vote.

McCullers may have realized his mistake when he tweeted: “I stand by my statement.. idgaf”

Toss out their ballots? Mellinger gave his first-place vote to Yankees star Aaron Judge. Here is what Sam says about his vote:

“First, they’re both deserving and there wasn’t a wrong choice, though I was surprised about the voting margin. I just thought Judge had a better year statistically. Judge was better in on-base, slugging, OPS, OPS+, wRC+, homers, walks, extra-base hits, runs and RBIs. I don’t put a ton of trust in defensive metrics (particularly a specific season) but he was way ahead there, too.

“Even with Altuve leading the league in hits and average, Judge got on base more and more often, and hit with more power. He led the league in runs and homers. Altuve is a terrific player, obviously, and a force in the postseason. I’m not arguing against him. Good for him. They were both terrific.”

Dodd gave his first-place vote to Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez.

“I waffled between Altuve and Ramirez, and in one preliminary ballot, I was set to vote for Altuve. But a couple things swayed my vote,” Dodd wrote in a post on his ballot. You can read more of what Dodd wrote here.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff